HMCTS Meet Their Targets Over Grants Being Issued
At an HMCTS meeting this week it has been confirmed they are continually making progress, as delays in issuing new applications are dropping with targets being met.
Again, Ian Bond, Chair of The Law Society’s ‘Wills and Equity Committee’ met with HMCTS and representatives from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) and Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners this week with the expectation of seeing a service back to ‘normal’ levels with professional applications – meaning all applications should be turned around within 10 working days.
Ian Bond reports that “progress is being made” and delays in issuing new applications are “coming down”.
“They are at around 4 weeks for issuing new applications for grants and are on track to get this down to 2 weeks by the end of the year. A few weeks later than planned, but still it is progress. They are under the 5 week target they had set themselves. Professional and lay applications are taking roughly the same time to process.”
“They are working on a contact strategy for applications that are currently stopped in the system to get those cleared. Key to this is commutation from HMCTS to the applicants. The contact centre in Birmingham can now deal with all enquiries and so everyone is encouraged to call or email them with queries as opposed to local registries. The intention from HMCTS is that from December they will be staffed from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings 8am until 12 noon.”
All legal practitioners are encouraged to use the 0300 303 0648 number for all enquires instead of calling the registry that their application was sent to if they require updates.
Furthermore, professionals should use ‘[email protected]’ email account for queries, instead of individual registry email addresses.
“Other developments include the fact that they hope to launch the online probate application in Welsh language in the new year and to be able to issue bilingual English / Welsh new style grants as well. As the Law Society we represent solicitors in England and Wales and so this has been very important to us to return to a position where the Welsh language has parity with English. If a person chooses to make their Will in Welsh then the process should allow their grant of probate to be also issued in Welsh.
“HMCTS want to encourage as many practitioners to sign up and use the online facilities. Since the launch of the online system for practitioners over 450 firms have signed up and created accounts. They want more firms to sign up.”
The link for firms to sign up to the online probate service for legal professionals is here. Ian Bond confirmed that all professionals who are allowed to make probate applications can sign up as it is not just exclusive to professional practitioners (e.g. solicitors and law firms).
The next meeting is scheduled for some time at the end of January 2020.